Monday, January 30, 2017


Dear Mom,
I've been very busy making things. Lists, menu plans and healthy dinners, and best of all, things knitted and woven and spun.
By accident, what I finished spinning last week coordinates with what I finished weaving this morning.

I try to reserve Sundays for spinning. That plan got sidetracked during the holidays, but I am getting back to it. I also try to reserve Tuesdays for sewing (once all my household chores are done). It may take weeks to finish something, but if I wait for a big block of time I'll never get started. This dress took 2 1/2 years to sew. Maybe longer. But only if you start the clock when I purchased the fabric. Good thing these things don't expire! I know I purchased the fabric intending to make a dress for spring/summer. (I am just not sure what year that purchase was made.) When that summer passed by without sewing the dress, I then hoped to have it for the next Easter. And after that didn't happen, I thought I could wear it to the Young Lady's graduation. Surgery re-arranged that plan and here I am, January 2017 and Factory Dress #2 is finished! Hemmed and pressed, ready and waiting!

I added a little lace that I purchased at an antique store to the pocket. I do love this Merchant & Mills pattern. This week I will start laying out and cutting their Top#64 pattern.

My most recently finished knitting project is this cardigan:

It is based on the vintage Sweater Wheel pattern I inherited from Aunt Betty. I've seen Sweater Wheels for sale on eBay. I made several modifications to the pattern- I knit the body of the sweater in one piece, lengthened the armhole depth and picked up and worked the sleeves from the top down, and I knitted faced button bands using Anna Zilboorg's "Almost Perfect Button holes". I really like this classic cardigan. I'll definitely make more for myself.

I 've begun a new, more thorough schedule for myself. I had one when the kids were little. Life was just easier to schedule back then, I guess. But I got away from it in the past few years. Makes sense when I think back on all the comings and goings and schedule juggling that middle and high school years brings. Now that this nest is mostly empty, I find I need that schedule again to make the best use of my days, to make time for creating and making and getting done all that needs to be done to keep this household running smoothly.
Last week I cobbled together all my lists and had fun with watercolor paints and ink to make a master   schedule for myself.
The Schedule includes exercise ( 5 days/week for heart health!) , vacuuming, specific laundry loads, bathrooms, floor mopping, plant watering, sewing, spinning, ironing- basically everything I thought of in logical, bite-sized, daily doses that I can easily manage. No more wasting time trying to decide what task to tackle. I look to my list. I get it done. And then Hallelujah! I have time to play! I have a separate notebook with the week's meal plan. When I make that plan and write out my grocery list, I include the recipe location. I wasted too much time trying to decide what to fix for dinner at the last minute. And even more time putting off housework because I couldn't decide where to start. I did all my thinking and put it down on paper. Tweaked it and made my master plan. I can still tweak things- and will need to make seasonal adjustments- but the essentials are there. Even better- I don't feel guilty for spending time at creating when I know my days work is done and done well.
I am continuing to work through the cotton fabric stash I accepted from one of my knitting students. This past weekend was very productive. Donna Reed and I wove 8 placemats and 2 table runners. That photo up there is the length of those placemats and runners before I separated them! I got smart and found 2 sets of fabrics that would be happy with the same warp and then wound enough warp for both sets, saving time dressing the loom.

Earlier in the month I wove this pretty set-

I am going through that stash of fabric quicker that I thought I would. Weaving these is almost instant gratification and I enjoy it, but I am eager to weave some nice dish towels again, soon.
All is well here at the end of the cup-de-sac. I even noticed some daffodils poking through the ground when I went out to fill the bird feeder yesterday!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Worried Dog

Dear Mom,
We've known for a long time now that intelligence is not Olive's strength. We make concessions and know that she is as smart as she needs to be. Like Winnie the Pooh, she has some fluff in her head. Olivia Patricia Winniefred. New things are big challenges for a dog with a simple brain.

This is a worried dog.

She is separated from her Mama.

Santa brought me a Braava robot to help sweep and mop the floors.  (I've named her Florence) Don't worry, I'll still do it the old fashioned way, but Florence lets me get other stuff done while she tends to the floors.

What that really means is I have more time in Sweet Haven. (Imagine streamers and party horns.)

So, this afternoon, having thrown the sheets in the washer, I started Florence to work in the foyer and headed upstairs to gather the towels for their turn in Mr. Bosch. On a typical day, Olive is my shadow, but with the Young Lady home for winter break, Olive has been dividing her time between us. I was not concerned about my absent shadow until I heard short little distress barks. Turns out our Big Black Beastie was downstairs and the Young Lady and I were upstairs. And Florence was between us.

This is Florence.
Florence is not very big.
She is not loud. She moves slowly.

Obviously, if you are Olive, Florence has an impenetrable force field surrounding her.
It took a dog treat and me escorting her to get Olive past Florence and upstairs with her people.
At times like this I can only imagine how our other dogs would have reacted. Bumper would surely have Not Cared. And Patsy? She would either have Killed Florence or figured out which buttons to push to get her sweeping, mopping, or stopped.

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

A.A. Milne